PP, Malawi Electoral Commission differ on by-elections pull out

Controversy has ensued between the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) and opposition Peoples Party (PP) over the latter’s decision to pull out of the forthcoming By-elections with the Commission insisting the party is still contesting in the polls.

Mec says PP has not followed proper procedures in communicating of its decision to pull out of the By-elections after the former ruling party only sent the Commission through a press release.

Mec spokesman Sangwani Mwafulirwa said in interview that the statement PP sent to the Commission was not enough documentation to officially write-off the party in the October 7th by-elections.

Mpinganjira: PP pulls out of all by-elections
Mpinganjira: PP pulls out of all by-elections

“We were given a copy of the press release signed by Mr. Brown Mpinganjira. But that is not enough documentation to withdraw a candidate from the elections. They should follow proper procedures and write the Commission of their decision to pull out of the elections,” said Mwafulirwa.

He said as it stands “No PP candidate has written the Commission indicating of their pulling out of the By-elections”, meaning all party’s candidates who expressed interest to contest are still
regarded as candidates.

Mec Chief Elections Officer, Willie Kalonga said a duly-nominated candidate can only be withdrawn once he or she effects a written notification that is signed personally.

“A candidate cannot be withdrawn from elections through a letter, press release, utterance or any communication from political party or any leader.” said Kalonga.

Section 46 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act and Section 38 of Local Government Elections Act indicate that a candidate can be withdrawn from election upon giving a written notification, signed personally, to the Returning Officer.

But PP spokesperson, Ken Msonda argued that the press release was loud and clear of the party’s decision to pull out of the elections after losing confidence in the Commission.

“We have no further comments regarding By-elections; our press statement is loud and clear. Communication can be through various means; press statement in electronic or print media,” argued Msonda.

However, PP risks being fined K500, 000 by Mec for inducing its candidates, which include Secretary General, Paul Maulidi to pull out of the By-elections.

Kalonga said: “The Commission also wishes to advise that it is an offence to induce or influence a candidate to withdraw from an election and those found guilty risk a fine of up to K500,000 and two
years imprisonment.”

According to Mec where a candidate voluntarily withdraws from an election, there is no refund for nominations fees.

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